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Published:May 10th, 2006 05:01 EST
India Over The Moon With NASA Help

India Over The Moon With NASA Help

By Maria Grella

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin and Indian Space Research Organization Chairman G. Madhavan Nair met in Bangalore, India, and have signed an agreement to help with India`s maiden voyage to the moon.  The mission, named Chandrayaan-1, will have two scientific instruments on board provided by NASA.  India`s lunar orbiter is expected to launch in late 2007 or early 2008.  The Chandrayaan-1 is an international mission financed by Europe and the United States.

Griffin will tour the ISRO facilities and will visit its satellite development center, launch vehicle production center and the launch site.  Griffin expressed his views on the benefits of the U.S. and India cooperation.  It is my hope and belief that as we extend the reach of human civilization throughout the solar system, the United States and India will be partners on many more technically challenging and scientifically rewarding projects. "

At a May 9th press conference, he further commented on his enthusiasm to get an inside look at India`s space program.  I very much look forward to the opportunity to see first hand India`s impressive space facilities, to meet with your scientists and engineers and to learn more about your remarkable work. "

The Moon Mineralogy Mapper is one of NASA contributions set to launch.  It is designed to evaluate mineral resources of the moon.  The second instrument, the Mini-SAR, will search for ice deposits in the polar regions of the moon.  NASA is hoping that the data obtained from these two instruments will add to its understanding of the moon`s environment.  The information will then be used as NASA launching its new program, the Vision for Space Exploration, calling for human and robotic examination of the lunar surface.

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